Curnow, Daniel

Curnow, Daniel           1917 September 14th           Chicksgrove

Killed on the Line

Australian Soldier Knocked Down near Tisbury

The death of Private Daniel Curnow, of the Australian Imperial Forces, which occurred as the result of being knocked down by a train on the L and SWR at Chicksgrove, was inquired into by the Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) at Fovant Military Hospital on Friday afternoon. The unfortunate man was 42 years of age and lived in Maylands, West Australia.

Captain C A Ensor, RAMC, TF, stationed at Fovant, stated that in consequence of a message received on the evening of Wednesday, September 5th, he proceeded to the level crossing at Chicksgrove where he found that an Australian soldier had been knocked over. His left leg had been separated through the knee joint, and he was extremely collapsed from shock and loss of blood. An ambulance from Fovant Hospital was waiting, and he was removed in it to the Hospital, where he died from shock following hemorrhage at 2.40am the next day. The spot on the railway from which the body had been removed was 40 yards on the Dinton side of the level crossing. There was a pool of blood by the up line, and near it the man’s leg and hat. There was a mark on the wooden covering on the wires which rather suggested that somebody had slipped. It was a wet night and the boards were wet and greasy.

Private E Hill, AIF, said that Curnow was a private in his company. They were working together on Wednesday morning when he was in good health. He did not tell witness where he was going in the evening.

Private A W Norris, AIF, stated that he and Curnow walked to Tisbury on Wednesday evening. About half past eight he left him, but they arranged to meet again at the Post Office, and return to camp together. Curnow, however, did not meet him as arranged, and witness went away about 9.30.

The Coroner : Was he sober when you left him at half past eight?

Witness : He had only had two drinks. He was quite sober.

Answering other questions, the witness said he always came back to camp along the road. He did not know whether Curnow usually went home along the railway line or not.

Thomas Gould said he lived in a cottage close to the London and South Western Railway level crossing at Chicksgrove, East Tisbury. He heard the 8.42pm train from Templecombe pass about a quarter to ten on Wednesday evening, and in consequence of a communication from his wife he got out of bed, lit his hand-lamp, and went out on to the line. About 30 yards from the crossing he found a man lying by the bank. A severed leg was lying straight across the line in the four-foot way, and the remainder of the body was some distance away. He did not think the man could have slipped on the trunking by the side of the track. He had heard that the man was somewhat deaf, and when the train came up behind him he might have turned suddenly and slipped on the rail. The soldier had no right on the line at this place, and was, therefore, a trespasser.

Frederick George Warren, of Exeter, engine driver in the employ of the London and South Western Railway, stated that on Wednesday evening he was driving the 8.42 up train from Templecombe. During the journey he did not notice anything out of the ordinary, and on arriving at Salisbury, in accordance with the usual instructions, he examined his engine, but found nothing to suggest that anybody had been run into.

The Coroner said this was a most unfortunate occurrence, but he thought it was undoubtedly accidental.

A verdict was returned accordingly.

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